249028 Newest Vital Sign and the Measurement of Numeracy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Stephanie Grutzmacher, PhD , Department of Family Studies, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Lauren Messina, MS, LGMFT , Department of Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Health literacy and numeracy are receiving increased attention from health researchers and practitioners due to their important role in the health decision making and behavior of individuals. One particular measure of health literacy, the Newest Vital Sign (Weiss et al. , 2005) uses a Nutrition Facts Label to quickly assess an individual's ability to answer questions regarding the label information. In some studies, this measure has been correlated with other measures of health literacy. It is difficult, however, to determine whether the instrument assesses label reading and comprehension or arithmetic skills. To examine this question, the original version and a revised version of the NVS with simplified arithmetic tasks were given to a sample of 219 low-income participants. Results indicated a different level of sensitivity in the two instruments and different correlations with other measures of health literacy. Individual item responses and health literacy categorizations were also explored. Findings provide evidence of a need to clarify concepts like health literacy, nutrition literacy, and numeracy in order to better measure related skills. Accurate conceptualization and measurement are important in assessing needs for programmatic and educational efforts aimed at improving nutrition knowledge and behavior.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify key measurement issues in the assessment of nutrition label skills, nutrition literacy, and nutrition numeracy.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct research in nutrition and nutrition literacy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.